Chinese law test examines 'crime' of choosing to save girlfriend over mother

The question appeared in the National Judicial Exam, which must be taken by anyone hoping to become a lawyer or judge

Lizzie Dearden
Tuesday 29 September 2015 09:20
Comments
Candidates must pass the test to enter China's legal profession
Candidates must pass the test to enter China's legal profession

Hundreds of thousands of trainee lawyers and judges in China have been asked whether they would save their girlfriend or mother from a deadly fire in a compulsory test.

The question appeared in the National Judicial Exam, which anyone wanting to enter the judiciary or legal profession must pass.

Paper two gave multiple choice options for sections on drug laws, roads, pollution, fraud, bribery, murder and other serious offences.

But Question 52 asked students about “crimes of omission”, posing scenarios including lifeguards failing to save a drowning child, a husband deciding not to rescue his wife during divorce proceedings, and someone letting friends drink poisoned coffee.

Hundreds of thousands of candidates sit the exam every year

Option C told the story of a man who chose to save his girlfriend from a burning building over his mother, saying his actions amounted to a criminal failure to act.

China’s Ministry of Justice confirmed it was the correct option four days after the exam, saying that a son is legally obligated to save his parents over other relatives and loved ones, the Global Times reported.

The question sparked lively online debate, with many people announcing what their own choice would be.

“I would definitely save my mother first. Apart from legal reasons, my mother raised me. Plus my girlfriend is younger, which means she has a better chance of escaping the fire on her own,” one man reasoned, according to a translation by the Global Times.

But others felt the law was unjust or “ridiculous”, especially in emergency situations where many lives may be at stake.

“People's lives are equal, they should be treated equally by the law,” one person wrote.

“I have no idea why giving up your mum is a crime, while giving up your girlfriend is not.”

Writing on the BBC’s China blog, Celia Hatton said motherly love appeared to win out overall, with one man writing: “Girls are everywhere, but I only have one mum.”

The National Judicial Exam is taken once a year over two days, with 436,000 people sitting it simultaneously at more than 14,000 centres in 2013.

State media describes it as “one of the most exacting national tests in China”, examining candidates on law, theory, legal practice and ethics.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in